O God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your beloved Son You confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of Moses and Elijah. In the voice that came from the bright cloud You wonderfully foreshowed our adoption by grace. Mercifully make us co-heirs with the King in His glory and bring us to the fullness of our inheritance in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
I remember my confirmation day. It was Palm Sunday, over forty years ago. The church was packed with more than three hundred people. My father, the Pastor, had drilled us in the catechism and now we were going to demonstrate. A microphone was passed along the row of nervous catechumens and my father peppered us with questions from Luther’s Small Catechism. We had to answer from memory. After that I made some promises in which I pledged to remain faithful to this confession no matter what the Devil, sin, or death could throw at me. Then my father prayed. I think he and everyone else realized that we had over-promised and needed God’s help to keep those promises.
In this prayer we assert that God confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of Elijah and Moses. I am aware that the word “confirm” has more than one meaning. At the same time, I think what happened that day in Missouri and what happened in Jesus’ transfiguration do belong together. The great mysteries of the faith revolve around God taking on human nature and human sin, carrying that burden to a cross where he died. Three days later he rose again. Moses and Elijah, two Old Testament characters give testimony to the power of God over death. They had lived centuries before. Elijah had been taken up in a whirlwind. Was he snatched up that day just so he could be here with Jesus on the mountain top?
But this does not exhaust the mysteries which God confirmed that day. Jesus is not done in his dealings with this fallen humanity. One day, about a week and a half after I was born, he took me up in the waters of baptism and called me his own. On that later day, as my father questioned us, heard our vows, prayed for us, God was confirming another mystery – namely that you and I are also numbered with those disciples and prophets of old, incorporated into the body of Christ. God has confirmed many mysteries of the faith, including the mystery of your faith.